Welcome to the World Beyond the PC (Page 1)

6.7.2013 Daniel Jaramillo

What had Microsoft originally embarked on?

Gates and Allen form a partnership called Microsoft way back in 1975 and like many other startups, Microsoft began really small but had  massive mission to accomplish – they wanted to place a computer in every household and on every desktop.

The real life concern that Microsoft is facing right now is that they have already achieved this vision, it took a great amount of time and effort but, as far as the developed world is concerned, this has already been added to their list of milestones. When have you ever seen a household without a computer? 2005-6? We’re long past the cusp of the great wave of the Microsoft endeavor and they’ve definitely exceeded the expectations of their worldwide scope. PCs are completely ubiquitous. When you’ve already taken over the planet... what do you do now?

Well, according to the goings-on at the moment: A World beyond the PC

The world-renowned company never seemed to recover from the initial shock of completing their original 1975 mission, or they may have thought that they hadn't quite achieved it, that there was another aspect to the PC that they hadn’t unleashed just yet, maybe somewhere it could branch off to. But, unfortunately for them, Steve Jobs certainly saw the Post PC era dawning way back in 1996:

“The industry built on and around the desktop computer is deceased. Innovation has been put on hold and Microsoft leads the pack with very little effort in that field. That's over. Apple lost. The desktop market has entered the dark ages, and it's going to be in the dark ages for the next 10 years, or certainly for the rest of this decade.

If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it's worth – and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. All done. Microsoft won that race a long time ago.”

What's more, Jobs actually acted on his words. Apple is now arguably the biggest (and when it comes to the financial side of things, they literally are the leading) enemy of general purpose computing with their revolutionary products: the iPhone and the iPad. Nowadays, their own general purpose Mac operating system, the OS X, is a runner up to their flagship products that run on iOS.

This is why:

This graph and the slope on it shows the whole picture. The more sophisticated and multi-purpose computers are way at the bottom and the easier to use, specialized computers are at the top.

I’m terribly conflicted because as much as I enjoy the do-anything line of computers…. 

  • I honestly don’t think that so many people in the world really need a computer that can do anything you throw at it and be able to install any kind of software. Most people really only need to be able to browse the web, that and a few other simple processes comprise the core of their computing needs.

  • For out brave new post PC world, I think that the chuck-everything-in model that PCs, Macs and Unix are based on make them incompatible from the base up. Updates and toolbars, Service Packs and Anti-viruses, all the little annoying details that make up the user experience. It’s what makes up the culture and design of every single multi-purpose computer. Doing everything means a lot of maintenance and a lot of complications.

  • Tiny, miniscule PCs – as in the fit-in-your-pocket kind of PCs- are starting to yield the same powers as a high-end PC of 5 years back or so. And the high end PCs of back then were extremely powerful, so if you think about it, they’re quite feisty pocket rockets them smartphones but also, with the same comparison, we can see that that much power was just unnecessary for such an inefficient general purpose system.

But the biggest wakeup call of all, is that the new iPad has finally offered up an innovation that multipurpose computers have been lagging on bringing to the table for thirty-odd years: a smashing high resolution display at a reasonable price, and of course size but pocket before eye-socket as I always say (Not really, that would be silly). In the year 2007 I was looking for the high-res displays but was left disappointed. Apparently, they’ve been saving up for tablets and phones.

That’s the sole reason why I grabbed the new iPad as soon as it hit the shelves!

Reviews on the new iPad that whine in the vein of "all they did was improve the display" are absolutely clueless bordering on idiocy. Tablets are pretty much by definition all display; nothing is more fundamental to the tablet experience than the quality of the display. These are the first iPads I've ever owned (and I'd argue, the first worth owning), and the display is as sublime as I always hoped it would be. The resolution and clarity are astounding, a joy to read on, and gives me hope that one day we could potentially achieve near print resolution in computing. The new iPad screen is everything I've always wanted on my desktops and laptops for the last 5 years, but I could just never find it.

(See Page 2)

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